According to Diedrich Healthcare’s “2013 Medical Malpractice Payout Analysis,”which was based on data from the National Practitioner’s Data Bank, there were 12,142 payouts for medical malpractice cases in 2012. That breaks down to one payout every 43 minutes. Florida was ranked fifth for payouts, spending over 200 million dollars on medical malpractice settlements in 2012. The majority of those payouts were traced back to misdiagnosis.
Similarly, a 2013 John Hopkins study analyzed 350,000 medical malpractice cases between 1986 and 2010. They found that misdiagnosis accounted for 35% of total payouts, adding up to 38.8 billion dollars after adjustments for inflation. Researchers believe that up to 160,000 claims resulting in preventable death or permanent damage can be attributed to misdiagnosis each year. Delayed diagnosis is also included in these figures.
We know that both doctors and mistakes are human. So when does a mistake turn into malpractice? The difference between a diagnostic error and “misdiagnosis” in the legal sense hinges on negligence. Did the doctor perform a comprehensive differential diagnosis? How did he/she decide on an appropriate course of treatment? How would that doctor’s decisions compare to the actions of most other practitioners within the same specialty?
Misdiagnosis can be more difficult to identify than other instances of Lakeland medical malpractice (like surgical error, for example), because there is often a long stretch of time between the original diagnostic error and the time the misdiagnosis was identified. As time passes, the cause and effect relationship becomes increasingly challenging to prove. The statute of limitations for your claim (which is often very short) is another important consideration.
Nothing is more important than your health. If you believe your case falls under the category of Lakeland medical malpractice, it’s important to seek the expertise of a qualified personal injury attorney in Lakeland as soon as possible. We welcome you to contact us for a free consultation to review the merits of your claim.